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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.

7,831 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,831
Reviews: 3,154
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 200
Gots: 464 | 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: 7,831 | Reviews: 3,154 | Display Reviews Only:
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 23, 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
Photo of tonistruth
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2005 vintage

A- burnt orange maybe a tad copper in color, fluffy & bubbly 2" white head w/ very good retent and settles to a ring, plenty of lacing

S- citrus, pine, toasted malts, caramel.

T- sweet & soft mellow orange flavor at first, then leads into some caramel & toasted malts, quickly followed and finished by citrus, pine, and grassy(in aftertaste only) hop flavors.

M- smooth, soft and light on the palette, good body and carbonation, finishes dry

D- I see why there is such hype around this beer. Absolutely delightful and sessionable. Balance in thsi brew is awesome. I am completely amazed by this beer.

tonistruth, Aug 21, 2006
Photo of rodrot
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 bottling. Poured a hazy reddish orange color with a 1 finger head that took a while to go down. Aroma was flowery and hoppy at first sniff, with sweet malt aroma making itself known after a few minutes. Taste: hops are definitely there, but are not nearly as prominent as a fresh example. Malty sweetness has taken over and the piney, grapefruity character of the hops has diminished. The beer had a medium bodied mouthfeel. Drinkability was fairly high and no alcohol was evident. This beer can age with the best of them, but I prefer my Celebration Ale fresh with a powerful hop presence.

rodrot, Aug 19, 2006
Photo of rabsten
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Leo's Carry Out in South Point, OH was dumping thier supply of this fine, fine brew at clearance prices. I suppose the fact that "2005" was on the bottle in large type scared them or something, because in the sam case is some Left Hand product with August 2004 brewed dates. Well, thier loss was my gain. And what a gain. I'd had '05 Celebration on tap in Charlotte but didn't review it because I lost my notes and wanted to be honest. Well, the bottles hold up real, real well.

poured into a pint glass, red-amber with red tinted head, ungodly lacing.

Smells piney, resinous, with floral notes as well. The malt is hidden below all the lovely hops. Mmm.

Taste, well, It's like SN's wonderful Pale Ale but beefed up. Hops, Hops, and Malt/Hops. Slight alcohol burn to it all.

Shockingly good mouthfeel, considering the highly hopped character and solid ABV. Smooth and silky.

Drinkability takes a minor ding because the alcohol (which really isn't that high, when you look at it) takes immediate effect. I was buzzing more after one of these than after a whole 22oz Ruination. Odd.

If SN makes a bad beer, I don't know what it could be. This is a damn good beer. I also admire that it bucks the trend of "spicing the hell out of the annual holiday brew." It's just a fine AIPA.

I could drink this year round.

rabsten, Aug 19, 2006
Photo of Derek
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 vintage.

A: Clear copper-orange, off-white head, nice retention & lace.

S: Bready; orange-citrus; a little pine & floral hop aroma too.

T: Citrus, toffee, pine, bread, light caramel, lemon-grass, hint of nut, pleasant bitter balance, alcohol is subtle.

M: Moderate to full body is somewhat creamy and acidic; Carbonation is moderate.

D: Attractive for a beer lover... alcohol could be trouble.

2011 vintage, consumed Jan 2012.

This fresh hopped version has a bigger nose, great hop flavour (a little more peppery), light fruity esters (vanilla and peach), nice malt & body. An all around great brew. Thanks for an awesome extra Rutager!

Derek, Aug 11, 2006
Photo of kdmorse
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 Vintage tasted in August of '06.

A: Burnt orange. 1.5 fingers off-white head. Slightly hazy. Tiny bubbles racing to the top in waves.

S: Piney hops (even after 8 months in the "cellar"). Sweet malt body backing up the pine.

T: Clean tasting. Pine. Lots of malt flavors balancing well: caramel and sweet bread.

M: Just reaching syrupy. Light and bubbly with good carbonation that barely becomes syrupy. Clean and refreshing. Not heavy at all.

D: Refreshing and delicious. Easy to drink/session. Great IPA that is good fresh and keeps well (at least short term, don't have long term experience). I prefer this to SN's IPA because I prefer the American IPA over the English version.

kdmorse, Aug 04, 2006
Photo of cbl2
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11/23/2005 2005 vintage $7.99 6 pack 6.80% No best by date.


Pours a medium brown with sticky head that nicely laces the glass as it slowly settles.


Piney resin with a lovely floral grapefruit essence imparted by the hops with a mild malt backbone.


This is a perfect indicator of how tastes change. First time I tried this beer I thought it was a hopped up mess, but now I cannot get enough. Flavors are perfectly blended with some intense piney hops coupled with a mild malt sweetness. Once the pine has passed, grapefruit infuses the palate with a juicy citrus sweetness that follows through to the finish. An excellent beer that I wish were offered year round. Time to stock up on more before it's gone.

cbl2, Jul 31, 2006
Photo of bruachan
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

found a 2004 bottle in my collection

red with a orangish tint; i can't decide if it's a nice color. the head up top was pretty good but didn't last (it didn't totally flee; left behind a thick enough film). frosty lacing, though
fairly malty aroma. hops-aplenty, too...piney
toasty, bready malt flavors. the hops have diminished over time but it's still fairly bitter

i'd say it aged pretty well (does two years—maybe not even—count as aged?)

bruachan, Jul 26, 2006
Photo of karst
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ringing out 2004 & ringing in 2005 with SN Celebration Ale.

The hops are varied on this each year and a vertical tasting would be the ultimate but anything in a well made Am. IPA will satisfy my hop cravings.

Pours burnished copper with full light tan head that laces the pint glass. Aroma of hops blend with sweet malts. Hops kick in at finish to dry. Winter Warmer Extradinare!

In all my celebrations the only notes I find are in the margin of Jackson's "Great Beer Guide" page 428.

karst, Jul 26, 2006
Photo of BurnsTau
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 edition.

Poured into a pint glass, deep amber/orange color, a bit hazy. About a half a finger of head which dissapated and left little lacing.

Smells sweet, hoppy, very appetizing. Just a great hoppy aroma all around.

Taste is incredible. Definitely get a hop fix with this one, while not too overpowered or out of whack at all. Nice malt to balance it out. Great carbonation and mouthfeel. For the great full flavor it has it is still pretty darn drinkable.

Overall worth the hype it gets and then some. Great hoppy IPA style and I am extremely glad I could find it this late in the year and enjoy the hell out of it.

BurnsTau, Jul 24, 2006
Photo of hunteraw
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was the 2005 version, sampled at Brickskeller in DC.

Appearance: Light copper color, nice head and lacing. Very nice looking beer.

Smell: all fresh hops in the nose, wish some resiny, piney notes.

Taste: hops take center stage, but the malt backs up well enough that this quite bitter beer isn't overwhelming. Hops have a decidedly spicey character to them, which along with the pine in the nose explains why this is a winter seasonal.

Mouthfeel: no complaints at all, smooth, good carbonation.

Drinkability: I'll be buying a lot of this come winter so I can enjoy it all year round! Great representative IPA to introduce the style to people.

hunteraw, Jul 17, 2006
Photo of deuschbag
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2005 edition

12 oz bottle pored into a stone anniversery pint glass. pores a lovely dark orange/light amber color. starts off with a one finger white head that lasts a few minutes. little traces of lacing.

the aroma is piny hops and a little candy sugar in the background.

taste has a very mellow citrusy hop pressence but just the right amount to make it noticeable. not overpowering at all. lots of bitterness in the aftertaste.

mouthfeel is full bodied. wonderfully chewy and rich. perfecto.

a fine brew by sierra. i like this one is a lot better then the actual sierra nevada ipa. this one tastes more like an ipa. i thought the other one just was a clone of the pale ale.

deuschbag, Jul 16, 2006
Photo of jettjon
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Highs: Appearance, flavor
Lows: None

Pours a brownish-mahogany orange with a few small bubbles. Heavy, creamy 2-finger head that fades away slowly leaving good lacing. Good looking beer. Nose is hops up front with sweet malt evident in the background. Taste is similar, very bitter right up front with a strong hops presence; it’s dry; on the swallow, flavor transitions to a well-balanced hops-to-malt flavor with a nice bitter finish. Mouth is watery, smooth, and mildly carbonated. Drinkability is good, perhaps a bit too bitter for me, but enjoyable nonetheless. I don’t think a hop-head (which I’m really not) would mind the bitterness.

Overall: Yeah, I like this one. Not quite as smoothly integrated throughout as DFH 90 minute, a little brash on the hops, but a darn fine IPA just the same. Strongly recommended.

jettjon, Jul 12, 2006
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz Sierra Nevada bottle into a Stone IPA glass. I think this beer is a little over 6 months old, bought in Detroit. Still looks and tastes good though.

Appearance is clear burnt squash color with beautiful rolling foam. The smell is hoppy IPA, definitive.

Tastes dead on for Stone IPA, I just had them side-by-side. That's a good thing in my opinion.

TurdFurgison, Jul 10, 2006
Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle marked 2005 to my pint glass. The liquid comes up copper with lots of red and orange hues. The head is 2 finger of fluffy white goodness, it fades to a fine small lace before almost disappearing altogether.

The smell is sharp hops, very to the point.

The taste is very good typical of an IPA, Very strong sour bitter hops, grapefruit & lime, over power a very rich malt that does well it's self. The finish is all bitter hops. This beer does very well as it warms yet adds nothing new.

Mouthfeel is very good. Rich smooth creamy, very nice full body.

Drinkability is good, a very delicious beer here, indeed. MK

MuenchenerKindl, Jul 09, 2006
Photo of edmundfitzoil
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 2005 edition of this brew that I poured into a stanard pint glass.

The beer poured a deep, lightly reddish amber with a finger of head that retained through half the drinking. The nose was very piney, spicy hops. The flavor was intensely spicey, hoppy flavor. I can see how this beer would work very well during the winter months, which is originally when I bought the two six packs this one eminated from. The beer's hoppines sits well in a medium bodied ale with enough of a maltiness to prevent it from being grossly unbalanced, but the beer is a masterpiece of piney hoppiness. A true contrast to other IPA's like Two Hearted. This is a super drinkable beer though because of its flavor (I like the hops) and also because of its medium body and light alcohol taste at the finish of a sip of this ale.

edmundfitzoil, Jul 04, 2006
Photo of kimcgolf
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured to a fairly hazy reddish orange color. Very good aroma.. a mixture of fruits (mostly apples), cinnamon and other spices, and chocolate. A spicy and bitter IPA. Had a good, long finish. Many seasonal Christmas beers seem to be marginal, but this was a pleasant surprise.

kimcgolf, Jul 02, 2006
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,831 ratings.