1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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.

7,775 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,775
Reviews: 3,154
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 196
Gots: 447 | 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: 7,775 | Reviews: 3,154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DaggerEyes

New York

4.1/5  rDev -1.4%

Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass a clear copper with some orange copper accents. A thick layer of slightly off white lacing coats the surface and leaves sticky blotches on the side of the glass.

First note that hits the nose is nutty and buttery notes, perhaps a bit of toffee, but maybe not as sweet. Some fruits linger in the back, apples perhaps.

The buttery nutty notes are all over the front of the toungue and as the beer begins to roll back in your mouth a bit of pine bite starts to enter the equation. Some spiciness rolls around as well

Medium body with a rather low ammount of carbonation, some what round in the mouth finishes dry with a bit of a filmy residue lingering in the mouth.

A celebratory beer for sure, very festive, and a pleasure to drink

06-02-2006 02:32:08 | More by DaggerEyes
Photo of Westsidethreat


3.95/5  rDev -5%

Gorgeous orangish mahagoney color. Whispy head that will remain as a comforting rim around the beer to the last sip.

Hoppy, malty aroma with touch of spice

Taste has that ge na say quoi...oh I know. Sierra Nevada. They have a trademark taste and this is it. Starts off with the taste of an amber then the hops kick in. Not to bitter, just a nice baseline to go with the malt. Finishes with just a touch of citrus.

05-14-2006 22:23:16 | More by Westsidethreat
Photo of deejaydan


3.73/5  rDev -10.3%

Thick and creamy head. Brilliant amber color. Aroma is piney as is the taste. The flavor is rather one dimensional, no malt balance to play the hops against. Mouthfeel is good. Drinkable, yes, but I feel that there are better and more balanced IPA's to be had.

05-11-2006 03:03:46 | More by deejaydan
Photo of trep

West Virginia

4.33/5  rDev +4.1%

From the 2005 batch. Not very fresh, but I had it a bunch of times earlier and the year and it was a lot better as i remember it.

Looks pretty damn good. Frothy white head sitting atop a orange-amber body. Semi-cloudy body but able to see through it. Head fades into chunky white globs around the top of the glass, leaving a little lacing.

Smells of very faint pine and citrus. Grapefruity esters make themselves present. A good bit of alcohol presence for the 6.8% that it boasts. Seems as though I remember it as having a better nose when it was fresh, which makes sense.

Tastes about like it smells, bitter up front, but super smooth in the finish. Aftertaste contains a glimmer of pine and citrus.

Perfect mouthfeel for this beer. Not too thick, not too thin. A wonderful balance that coats your mouth and then evaporates into oblivion.

Incredibly drinkable, I could drink these all night then wake up and drink one with my eggs and toast. Incredibly smooth that slides down the throat.

05-04-2006 06:56:35 | More by trep
Photo of haz77


4.33/5  rDev +4.1%

A - Clear copper with medium carbonation. Off-white head with good retention. Leaves a nice lacing.

S - Grapefruit, lemon, lychee, pine, floral. Very nice!

T - Hops kick in almost immediately, after a short burst of malts, and don't stop. All the aforementioned smells are present in the taste.

M - Creamy, slightly oily, medium body and carbonation.

D - Very drinkable, but not a beer I would want to stick with all night.

05-03-2006 17:27:01 | More by haz77
Photo of brewdlyhooked13


3.58/5  rDev -13.9%

2002 Edition aged several years.

Appearance - slightly hazed, deep golden color. Creamy dense head of maybe a finger sits atop, holding well.

Aroma - mix of citrusy hops, fruitiness, and dark fruit late as the beer settles. Nice persistence for a 3 to 4 year old bottle.

Taste - the malt has gone a little lifeless but the hops help out considerably. I've had this fresh and it is intense and alive when new. It is more like a pale ale now, tasty but not as zippy. Ends with a nice bite and turns nicely dry.

Mouthfeel - still fairly crisp and medium-bodied.

Drinkability - well, it won't go *bad* in storage but it's yummier when fresh.

05-02-2006 03:11:18 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of ITK4ever


4.22/5  rDev +1.4%

I don't understand why this a winter release. To me, take off the blasted holiday scene and sell it year-round like the PA. This is a great session beer and drinking them is like eating candy. Pours a terrific amber color into a pint glass. A pretty pour....balanced head, nice lacing. Piny, citrusy hops hit first and the beer tastes as good as it smells. Piny citrusy...could be the perfect AIPA. Balanced beautifully.

They only thing bad about it is SN may as well put Santa on the label.

04-28-2006 17:55:59 | More by ITK4ever
Photo of Hautacam


3.53/5  rDev -15.1%

Cloudy amber....foamy head drops to a film quickly.
Smells strongly of aromatic piney hops.
Taste is very tangy, citrusy hops balanced with a smooth semi-sweet toasty malt. Alcohol hint as it warms up. Hoppy aftertaste.
Medium mouthfeel, medium carbonation.
All in all , a good brew..could have more tha one.

04-25-2006 13:27:41 | More by Hautacam
Photo of objectivemonkey


4.55/5  rDev +9.4%

I broke out my 2002 vintage last night. No special occasion, just itchin to drink it. But man was it worth the wait. Pours much hazier than a fresh one, but still retains its head and lacing. Nose grew more delicous than ever, the hops toned down, with ripe fruits and a sweet, caramel maltiness that hides the alcohol in there. Hops have mellowed down in taste too, replaced by a deliciously smooth caramel malt, and is just a beautiful ride. But it still retains some of that signature hop profile that Celebration is good for. I'm definitely glad I started keeping a few Celebrations in the cellar each year.

04-17-2006 03:12:57 | More by objectivemonkey
Photo of plaid75

New York

4.53/5  rDev +8.9%

I am reviewing the 2005 edition, as I just finished off the last of my stockpile.

This beer pours a nice amber shade with a nice foamy head. There is average head retention and lacing. This beer is nicely hopped and very aromatic.

The taste is very complex and different food pairings reveal different flavors. This beer is suprisingly drinkable considering its spiciness and ABV.

Up there with Mendocino as one of the best winter seasonals.

My only complaint would be its limited release. It becomes very difficult to find toward the end of January.

04-15-2006 00:36:02 | More by plaid75
Photo of jhollick


4.15/5  rDev -0.2%

Presentation - 12 oz. bottle, served chilled. 2005 edition.

Appearance - Reddish orange with beatiful billowing white head. The head piles up around an inch, and leaves a thick trail behind. The whole scene reminds me of winter.

Smell - Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, banana, and other spices my nose cannot identify. There is also a noticable hop aroma wafting around. Something tells me I'm in for something a bit out of the ordinary for winter warmer beers.

Mouthfeel - Nothing too out of the ordinary here. Appropriate carbonation level and enough heft to keep it from feeling watery. Hops coat the mouth a bit, but nothing overwhelming.

Taste - As I suspected, this beer is hoppier than other winter beers I have come across. The aforementioned spices make a brief appearance, but they quickly give way to the hops. The hops are pretty strong, but not overpowering, and somehow the beer stays smooth. The malts do just enough to keep those crazy hops in line. A very interesting flavor with a dry finish.

Drinkability - Woo woo! After this review, I finished 3 more out of the six pack and wondered why I couldn't see straight. Riiight...its the 6.8% alcohol. Seriously, that should be in big script, because I would have never known if I hadn't started buzzing very quickly.

Overall - A winter brew for hopheads! Not that this can only be enjoyed by hopheads. Even though the hops are the strongest flavor, they don't overwhelm, and the beer has a very quenching character. It had me reaching for more and more. Too bad this is only a seasonal. I could see myself reaching for this on a chilly summer's evening as well. Alas, winter 2k6 isn't that far off...

04-06-2006 01:16:39 | More by jhollick
Photo of Metalmonk

North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev -0.2%

2005 edition

Pours a creamy brownish-white head that retains well. Great reddish-brown body, leaning toward the red. Good active carbonation and cool splotchy lacing.

Herbal hops aroma out front, with a slightly sweet character that reminds me of cherries soaked in a brown sugar glaze.

Taste is pretty close to the regular S.N. Pale Ale, adding a fruitier aspect and slightly creamy mouthfeel. Piney hops out front, just a bit sharp but thirst-quenching and drinkable. Aftertaste is a steely grapefruit wang that sticks around awhile.

A satisfactory and hoppier take on their everyday (and very good) Pale Ale. There are better holiday ales, but the lower ABV (by holiday ale standards) makes it a good alternative if you're not looking to get blitzed 'n' bleary-eyed over the holidays.

04-04-2006 22:10:33 | More by Metalmonk
Photo of grub

Ontario (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

2005 edition

pours a nice golden colour, with a thick golden head that lingers through to the end of the glass and leaves plenty of lacing.

the aroma is malty and lightly hoppy. slightly lager-y aroma too.

taste is slightly malty, with a strong but very smooth bitterness. the lager flavour is there too, but mellow. if the lable didn't say "ale" i'd swear it was fermented with a lager yeast. the alcohol is not noticeable at all.

the body is good. it's got a nice full body.

overall it's a really interesting beer. full bodied, but light and with a very lager-like feel. definitely quite enjoyable.

03-31-2006 03:13:20 | More by grub
Photo of jamesdergen


4.45/5  rDev +7%

Appearance: Pours a reddish, caramel color with a great chunky beige head that sticks around for most of the brew.

Smell: Huge floral hop aroma, very piney as well.

Taste: Big and hoppy but super-smooth! A floral hoppy attack up front that is backed by a huge caramel malt backbone. This 2002 edition has mellowed out a lot, but lost some of its hop edge.

Mouthfeel: Ultra smooth despite the hoppiness and light to medium bodied. Lightly carbonated.

Drinkability: I wish I would have picked up another one of these! Very drinkable, smooth and well-balanced.

Picked up this 2002 edition at Blue Max last week and it did not disappoint. I would have liked a more edgy hop bite, but the smoothness is unlike any other IPA I've tried.

03-24-2006 04:00:07 | More by jamesdergen
Photo of drugsbunny


4.9/5  rDev +17.8%

This is the perfect beer. Color, head, taste... everything. I even like the fact I have to wait until Winter to enjoy this wonderful ale. Perfect hop character, wonderful Cascade aroma. I could drink this forever. I can't wait to find this on tap somewhere.

03-21-2006 15:19:12 | More by drugsbunny
Photo of ReDave


3.9/5  rDev -6.3%

Very nice, always glad to accept a Celebration ale! Great hoppiness, nice color and aroma. Nicely balanced. Not like some "holiday" beers that are nutmeggy or the like, this is like a darker richer version of their pale ale. bigger, but not sure i'd call it an IPA.

03-20-2006 05:38:08 | More by ReDave
Photo of BiltmoreShores

New York

3.93/5  rDev -5.5%

I'm lucky enough to have a tap system at my home and I've been enjoying tap beer now for over a year on this unit. I picked up a keg of Celebration Ale in January and enjoyed many wintery nights with friends while consuming mass quantities.

First off, this beer pours real nice and smooth from the tap. Little head and scenty aroma. It just seems to smell like you've just lit the fire on a winter night. Dark amber color in the glass, the first taste is a bit strong, but the second is delicious.

After a couple, the 6.8% ABV becomes obvious and you can either sit back and relax or ride the wave. I've done both on several occasions, however, this beer for me is a sit back and relax type of brew. I found that its much more enjoyable to hang back with a couple than pound this beer.

In summary, I love it in small quantities, but overdose can release undesirable effects.

03-17-2006 16:30:44 | More by BiltmoreShores
Photo of normZurawski

New Jersey

3.95/5  rDev -5%

This is fine, this is good. I'm not an immense fan of the American IPA, contrary to the tastes of an enormous subset of the people who drink craft beer. But it does have its moments. I don't think it compares well to the Troegs Nugget Nectar nor the Three Floyds Alpha King. But it's a good beer all in all.

I gave the smell a good-plus because it's a got a nice aroma that probably supercedes its taste a bit. I gave the mouthfeel and drinkability a good-minus because it's a tad too bitter for me. The taste is good, though it does leave an extremely long hop/bitter taste lingering in the mouth that doesn't do much good for this beer. I'm not sold on its outstanding classification on the site. But to each his own.

03-17-2006 01:41:06 | More by normZurawski
Photo of paulfear


3.98/5  rDev -4.3%

poured a nice deep amber color with a very thick fluffy head. it had a strong aroma of hops and floral qualities. i found it to be rather mild the first time i drank it, but when i sat down to review it i thought it had a sharper bite to it with hints of floral and hops flavors. i almost think it had a slight berry taste to it. mouthfeel was of a medium body with smooth consistancy.

03-12-2006 15:59:46 | More by paulfear
Photo of jameaterblues

New York

4.05/5  rDev -2.6%

This beer pours a very dark amber color, with a slight reddish tint. The head is a creamy white color...it was very thick at first, but dissipated quickly....a fine lace of cream colored bubbles remain around the glass.

The smell is what I consider to be the 'Sierra' smell....strong cascade hops. very dank and spicy.

This beer tastes like a stronger version of the pale ale. The hops hit the tongue and never leave(this is a good thing since I have started to love hops)....Almost like a mild IPA, but has the slight spice, and maybe some herbs, of a winter warmer(no spice added, just the slightly spiced taste). A nice bitter dry finish.

Mouthfeel/drinkablity: If you are a fan of Sierra Nevada already this is a great beer. I think that sierra nevada has a very distinct flavor going on and this appears to be due to their hops. I will have no problem finishing the rest of these....I find it is wonderful...I'm glad I got to try it before it is gone for the season.

03-11-2006 03:51:16 | More by jameaterblues
Photo of joeyels


4/5  rDev -3.8%

2005 Edition

Dark copper or light amber in color depending how the light hits it. Tiny bubbles rushing to the top of a thin 1/4" beige head, light lacing throughout the entire glass. Subtle aroma, very balanced with hops and malt. Taste is hoppy, feels like a mix of pine and citrus on the back end, but very balanced with sweetened malt. Very smooth, crisp finish, perfect feel on the palate, extremely well carbonated. Wonderful balance of flavors, not too subtle yet not too overpowering. Delicious.

03-07-2006 13:53:40 | More by joeyels
Photo of timtheenchanta

South Carolina

4.18/5  rDev +0.5%

Hazy orange glow emitted from this beer. Medium head with little retention but good thin webby lacing.

Citrus hops with sweet pale malt smell.

Lots of hop oil flavor. Citrus hops and pale malt. Great IPA with plenty of delicious hoppiness. Hop dryness leaves me wanting more.

03-07-2006 04:18:21 | More by timtheenchanta
Photo of wl0307

United Kingdom (England)

4.47/5  rDev +7.5%

<2007 Vintage>
BB 08/10/2008, served slightly chilled in a large tulip-shaped wine glass.
A: dark amber hue, coming with creamy off-white head with o.k. retention, on top of very decent-looking, gentle carbonation.
S: a little musk, Fuggle-like fragrance, and the smell of "old kitchen-cloth" (quite typical in many English Pale Ales) come as surprising plus to the original mixture of peachy+piney+fat-grapefruity hops in this fantastic ale; this year’s vintage seems to feature less malts and the fragrant hops come more pronounced and intense than the 2005 Vintage that I can recall… Complex and super-enjoyable!
T: grapefruit-zesty, tannic-bitter as well as deliciously and yet also soothingly malty upfront… the piney hoppiness is rather light, being slightly spicy in the middle, then the citric hop bitterness expand towards the wings and rear of the tongue with a lychee-like fruity undertone. The finish is proudly bitter, but quite rounded and not harsh at all, with a wee bit of alc. felt in the very end.
M&D: fantastic mouthfeel, with lots and lots of soothing carbonation to carry through the weight of hop bitterness; this vintage tastes slightly different from my last bottle (2005 vintage), with a slightly more hop-dominated theme. No matter what the subtle differences are, I just love every vintage of this truly delicious festive IPA!

<2005 Vintage>
BB 21/10/06, served slightly chilled in a large tulip-shaped wine glass.
A: light copperish hue, coming with a medium-thick, 2cm off-white creamy head with good retention and uneven sheets of lacing; lively carbonation, but not too fizzy.
S: barley candy and a raw-grainy hint of sweet calcium-pill (for children) upfront; deeply sweet flowery fragrance with lots of stimulating pollens, like orange blossoms, plus cherry and apple flavouring, honey, sweetened citrus peel... plus a dense aroma from fruit and flower esters sustaining firmly in the background. Oily and flowery hoppyness threads through all elements of the aroma. Very nice, even more complex than the 2004 version, or maybe I've gained more experience to appreciate a good brew like this??
T: extremely creamy-textured semi-sweet fruity palate with fat maltiness lubricates the palate, preparing it for a quiet but colourful hoppy attack--grapefruit peel, lychee, cherry skins, flowery, orange seeds, plus an increasingly bitter hoppy aftertaste with plenty of tannins at the back... The flavour outperforms the aroma in terms of depth and complexity by a margin, and really is penetrating just like a colourful American IPA should be. Superbly lingering bitterness and dancing hops on the palate.
M&D: full flavoured and very approachable due to its creamy texture; again, the 2005 version is another successful brew proving the consistency of the brewery's artistic skills. Incredibly juicy and exceptionally delicious American IPA. Can't wait to try the 2006 vintage~~

03-07-2006 02:43:11 | More by wl0307
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a lovely head that leaves plenty of lacing

Smell: Wonderful citrus orange aroma

Taste: Although this beer is very hoppy, it has a nice caramel malt backbone that supports the citrusy hop flavors; it gives you a nice sweetness up front alongside a long bitter flavor, with a floral aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with plenty of carbonation

Drinkability: One of my favorite IPAs, this one has a great hoppy taste and is extremely well-balanced

03-07-2006 01:28:44 | More by brentk56
Photo of barleyman


4.43/5  rDev +6.5%

I have enjoyed the SNCA for over 10 years now.This, the 2005 edition, is poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a straight sided pint glass. A clear, mahogany beer, with very little dark khaki head, leaves a little Brussels lace down the glass.The smell is of hops, wonderful hops, with some malt as well. The taste is of hops as well, along with raisins and clove. Thanks goes out to Fritz, for this wonderful product. The mouthfeel is of balance, like no other, tis perfect. With a balance like this, the drinkability is near everyday levels.

Lord take me now,


03-06-2006 04:12:22 | More by barleyman
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,775 ratings.