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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.

7,773 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,773
Reviews: 3,154
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 195
Gots: 445 | 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: 7,773 | Reviews: 3,154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kgotcher


4.2/5  rDev +1%

So first off I'ma bit confused if this is IPA or Double IPA or American Strong Ale. Says IPA on the BA style but I've reviewed other beers just like that that were IIPA or Strong Ale or Winter warmers.

Anyway, this pours nice rich orange amber color with thin head and nice lacings. Smell is sweet malt with Christmas tree hops. Mouthfeel is smooth and syrupy with a bitter finish. Very hoppy with a good amount of carbonation.

Taste is amber malt with northwest hops. Earthy and citrusy hops rule over a sweet syrupy malt and a slight nutty flavor. Leans toward hop flavor in the end with overpowering finishing hops.

A nice beer, pretty drinkable for the style with lots of flavor. If anything a bit too hoppy, but that's typical SN for you.

03-05-2006 05:30:58 | More by kgotcher
Photo of rhoadsrage


4.05/5  rDev -2.6%

( Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a light golden orange body that is crystal clear. There is a good strong carbonation of tiny bubbles and a thin creamy white head.

S- The smell of green hops with a pineapple note and a hint of grass is supported by a lightly toasted and caramel malt note.

T- The grapefruit hops come through and appear a bit more bitter with the slight sweetness of the malt. This really makes the hops stand out nicely. This beer finishes with a green bitter hops flavor and a note of spicy in the hops.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a nice creamy texture.

D- The hops are really enhanced by the malt but this beer is still very drinkable.

03-04-2006 20:41:24 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of Tupperwolf


4.18/5  rDev +0.5%

Here's a little story about Celebration Ale.

One day, I was driving down a street just a few blocks from my home in San Diego. I was following a white Toyota Celica being driven by a woman who appeared to be around 65 years of age. She slowed, turned on her turn signal, and used her remote to open her garage door. As I slowed behind her, I looked into her garage and was surprised to see an entire wall of the garage stacked with box after box of Celebration - probably 15-20 cases of it. Since then, I've wondered if it was really good enough to warrant stocking up to that level for your family.

Pouring this into a standard pint glass reveals a fairly standard IPA - red-amber, with rising bubbles and a rocky, fluffy eggshell head. This is a bit more hazy than a standard IPA, however, a slight cloudiness that could just be chill haze. The head leaves an amazing lacing across the entire glass, from top to bottom, that I can't help but wonder is caused by an extremely clean glass or a slightly dirty glass. It is a wall of thick, bubbly lace that looks like styrofoam.

Smell - slight spruce-tip winter-ale spiciness in the beginning, and it's all hop from there. This is one hoppy winter bomb, floral and citrusy.

The taste echoes the flavor rather well - It begins with a caramelly malt that continues to a sprucey, spicy winter warmer flavor, and is almost immediately overwhelmed by sweet, sweet oily hops. Yum yum. Citrusy and oily, the hops are well balanced.

Smooth mouthfeel, very slight carbonation, oily hop finish, nearly clean at the end after swallowing.

Pretty good. Definitely drinkable. Hell, I had four in a row.

02-27-2006 00:05:30 | More by Tupperwolf
Photo of scottoale


4.93/5  rDev +18.5%

One of my top 5 favorites for nearly 2 decades, I thoroughly enjoy this American IPA which IMO is just as much a strong ale. Really, really tasty stuff no matter how you look at it!

It pours a medium amber-gold with an outstanding almond colored head. The head is thick and frothy, lasting the entire time of consumption, with a nice sticky lacing trailing every sip. The bottle-conditioned carbonation is perfact and consistant, year after year.

Ah, the smell. Very piney fresh hop nose with floral, malty into citrus like finish. They should make air fresheners and perfumes using this fragrance.

Tastes just like it smells with a rich, full body that makes this a gourmet meal of a beer. Full of hoppy, malty mouthfilling goodness that hides the alcohol all to well. Must drink more! One helluva American IPA indeed, and a very well balanced one.

I truly can say nothing bad about this beer, even though it's filling, I can drink this strong ale into eternity...I recommend that you do the same...Cheers!

02-26-2006 20:45:46 | More by scottoale
Photo of phishgator


4.38/5  rDev +5.3%

I will say that on tap this brew is slightly better in aroma and taste. might just be the freshness, but there is a difference! I have a 2003 in the freg. it will brought out before 2006 is over to compare! It is a west coast AIPA and the full body with the overall overwhelming bitterness make this brew a true winter delight.

02-22-2006 07:01:59 | More by phishgator
Photo of VoodooBrew

South Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +6.5%

Ceeel - ebration Ale COME ON! Da da da da da da da da!

2005 release, 12 oz. bottle.

Fresh, clean citrus hops burst forth from this clear copper-colored marvel. Think SNPA but better! Hops reside in the front of the palate, and a robust yet manageable bitterness rides through to the long finish. There is enough malt to keeps things in balance for the most part, but make no mistake this beer is all about the hops!

Not only is Celebration Ale absolutely delicious in its own right, it's also a most welcome change from the (often pedestrian) winter offerings rolled out during holiday time.

Let it also be noted that it's no secret SNCA holds up surprisingly well to cellaring. Not long ago I participated in a multi-year vertical and they were all fantastic.

02-22-2006 01:12:00 | More by VoodooBrew
Photo of Freshie


3.85/5  rDev -7.5%

Served on-tap at the Union Brewhouse in Weymouth, MA.

Served very cold with small head that dissapated at a moderate pace. Dark amber colour. I had a hard time getting a sense of the aroma, and I am not sure why. I had a few other beers on this occasion and had no problem with the aroma. What I did smell was pine hops and citrus, though it really took alot of intake to get it.

The taste was very hoppy and gave way to a more floral bouquet. I tasted citrus, pine and other earthy textures. The hop character stays with you as you drink it, but I don't consider that a bad thing! haha.

Good quality all around.

02-21-2006 19:00:37 | More by Freshie
Photo of mdagnew

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

4.33/5  rDev +4.1%

330ml bottle bought from Sainsbury's... 2005 edition...

Poured a dark rusty orange / copper colour... Slightly off white head poured medium size and faded to thin layer...

Aroma - Light toasted caramel maltiness, spicy / peppery hops, fruity - over ripe bananas ? Woody hints, slight nuttiness...

Taste – Strong spicy hop bitterness, strong woody notes - pine ? Toasted brown sugar, light sweet maltiness under the hops, fruity - definite grapefruit notes, raisins, figs, floral notes...

Feel - Quite sharp and dry. Medium body. Very drinkable...

Overall - An excellent beer. My first ever SN Celebration and i wasn't disappointed !! Highly recommended !!

02-20-2006 10:45:49 | More by mdagnew
Photo of Jredner


3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

Nice hop aroma. Pours very nice with a frothy white head on a copper body. Citrus notes follow a mild malt profile and big hops are present through out. A less in your face IPA which is more to my personal style. Still was kinda sad there was no cinnamon or fruitcake flavors cause when I see snow on a bottle I think spiced ale :-(

02-18-2006 00:38:09 | More by Jredner
Photo of dreadnatty08

District of Columbia

4.33/5  rDev +4.1%

Pours a dark amber with soapy, bubbly head about 1/2" which receeds to a slight covering. Slightly sweet, piney, fruity (citrus) in the nose. Flavor is dominated by those signature SN hops. Light body with a little alcohol bite in the finish. Not sure what makes an IPA a winter seasonal, but this is a pleasure to drink to remind myself what makes this style so great among the standard winter fare.

02-16-2006 22:04:06 | More by dreadnatty08
Photo of KyleVick4


2.55/5  rDev -38.7%

A: Very bubbly, copper amberish color. Nice head that consists of big bubbles. Head dissipates pretty quickly. Leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

S: Hoppy. Can not distinguish any subtle smells bc the hop aroma is to big. Not a very strong smelling beer, but I could only pinpoint one smell.

T: Spicy, and dry with a kick of mild hops coming in the end. The combination of carbonation and hops makes for a spicy first hit followed by a hoppy aftertaste. Very little malt taste, kinda weakly IPAish.

M: Medium - Light with a fair amount of carbonation.

D: Overkill on spicyness and carbonation makes this beer tough for me to finish. It would for sure be a one beer drink for me, Id drink it again bc it tastes good but it gets old quickly.

02-16-2006 07:23:54 | More by KyleVick4
Photo of kingjames1

South Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +5.8%

Wow. This is beautiful. Pours a deep orange-amber (the color of honey) with a solid, thick off-white head. Smells of bitter grapefruit rine, pine needles, and spice. MMM. The taste is wonderfully complex, and the thick and sweet malts present stronger as the drink warms. A wonderful beer that simply gets better with each sip. Great to sip slowly and really appreciate, or refreshing to drink relatively quickly as one would a standard IPA such as Harpoon. This may be my favorite IPA, and one of my favorite seasonal offerings. Fantastic. I'm buying up as many as I can before they leave us until next year.

02-14-2006 01:10:10 | More by kingjames1
Photo of RJLarse


4.08/5  rDev -1.9%

I picked up a couple of these at a local craft beer store to review. It’s getting a little late for the seasonal ales, so it might have been marked down. I poured this beer into a pint tumbler.

Pours a shiny copper color and is slightly cloudy but translucent. The pour generates three fingers plus of foamy off-white head with a bit of a yellow tinge. The head is extremely resilient. In fact there is foam in the bottom of the glass after the last swallow.

The smell is pungent and acerbic. The beer has a citrus smell and a sharp distinct aroma of hops.

The taste is also sour and citrusy, like grape fruit. This is a very hoppy tasting beer. The aftertaste lingers briefly and is also mildly sour.

Mouth feel is light, crisp and mildly carbonated. The beer is refreshing and festive in the mouth.

This is a very drinkable beer, with a distinct and festive character. It’s not a typical winter beer, but it’s light and lively and would certainly spice up a holiday party. Celebration Ale would be good year ‘round.

02-12-2006 01:23:34 | More by RJLarse
Photo of SwillBilly


4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

2005 Celebration Ale, poured from 12 oz bottle:

Appearance: Pours a light copper hue, with a 2"-3" creamy, white head. Carbonation bubbles stream to the top of the glass. Plenty of spider web like lacing lines the glass.

Smell: Herbal and grassy with hints of piney hops and sweet caramel.

Taste: Initially a piney, herbal hop bitterness dominates the beginning. The middle transistions nicely to a faintly caramel like sweetness. The finish leaves a nice, dry bitterness on the palate.

Mouthfeel: Pleny of carbonation makes for a lively mouthfeel. Somewhat slick and oily.

Drinkability: SNCA is what I consider a quintessential American IPA. A beer that I look forward to every year. That being said, its very well balanced, plenty of hoppy bitterness as well as a mildly caramel like sweetness in the middle. A beer that I could drink all day. Highly sessionable even with the 6.8% abv, which is very well hidden. Can't wait for next years edition.

02-11-2006 22:14:00 | More by SwillBilly
Photo of evh883


4.13/5  rDev -0.7%

The best American IPA I have ever had! In the glass, the beer has a nice medium amber glow to it with a white head that laces fairly well upon drinking. Very hoppy aroma that is expected with the style. The taste is backed up with more hoppiness and a harsh bitterness which gives it a sharp finish on the tongue. Great beer, would definetely look forward to next year's.

02-11-2006 20:28:27 | More by evh883
Photo of yelterdow

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev -4.3%

2005 Edition, served in a pint glass at fridge temperature. This is such a classic brew, I couldn't waste another day without lending my two cents.

Appearance- Glows a bright, beautiful orange in the glass, supporting a creamy bone white head that laps at the rim after a good, solid pour. Lacing happens in sheets, not islands or craggy masses like some other IPAs. Terrific structure, it never loses its rugged character.

Smell- Sweet, piney grapefruit hop presence right out of the bottle, which intensifies and grows over the course of my tasting. A firm malty note lingers within, giving some weight to the nose.

Taste- A blast of lemon and grapefruit envelop the mouth, giving way to a short but certain malt appearance... then the relentless hops take over and clusterbomb the back and sides of the tongue. The bitterness left behind is staggering, yet I can't wait for the next attack.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- The most important need for improvement IMHO is the mouthfeel... it is rough, and the carbonation slightly hurts the drinkability. I'm loving the burps right now, no problems there... I feel terrible that my sweet, loving wife has to deal with my bedtime etiquette tonight. All in all, an unmistakeable IPA that will continue to have a home in my beer cellar 'til the Hop Gods come for the keys.

02-10-2006 04:23:08 | More by yelterdow
Photo of PBRstreetgang


4.4/5  rDev +5.8%

2005 release. Pours a hazy shade of copper,with a massive three finger head crowning over very active tiny carbonation. Very dense foam shows excellent retention and leaves rings of sticky lace. Hoppy nose, pine and citrus and a slight herbal/earthy aroma. Toasted amber malt first, then raw american hops take over the flavor leaving a coarse yet satisfying aftertaste. Herbal and bitter, it balances well with the sweet amber malt flavor. The medium body and high carbonation smooth out the onslaught of hop oils and the mouthfeel turns out rich instead of harsh with a surprisingly mild finish. An outstanding IPA.

02-09-2006 06:24:53 | More by PBRstreetgang
Photo of wingnutter


4.6/5  rDev +10.6%


I first had this 2 months ago, and after probably 3 cases, I think I need to revisit this wonderful beer.

I drink so much of this, I usually drink it from the bottle - its just as good as in a glass. I may even like it a bit better. I have 2 cases sitting in my closet so I can enjoy this stuff all year. This 4th of July is gonna be a great time for a Celebration.

This is THE quintessential piney IPA. Excellent aggressive, piney hops with enough sweetness to balance it perfectly. Very green tasting, which is a good thing in my book. The amount of carbonation matches well with the taste - the meduim mouthfeel never feels too light or gets too heavy. Feels like pine resin on my tongue and has an oily base. Brilliant. I never get sick of this beer. It still stings my tastebuds every time I take a sip.

The flavor has highlights that come and go as you drink it- piney, floral, citrusy, grassy...theyre all covered. The subtle malt backbone provides stability to the in-your-face hoppiness, and the hops used in this beer is one of the most refreshing yet bold I have come across. Ive tried quite a few IPAs in the last 11 months (including such heavyweights as Stone, Racer 5, Avery, Dogfish Head, Titan, HopDevil, Hop Ottin, etc), and this one stands up to every one of them and ranks in my top 5.

Rediculous drinkability. I would love to try this straight from the source on tap.

If youre looking for a standard to compare other IPAs against this one is as solid as they come.

Bravo, Sierra Nevada. You nailed it in 05. I hope next years offering is as good as this one. A near perfect beer.

02-05-2006 09:04:19 | More by wingnutter
Photo of plaztikjezuz


4/5  rDev -3.8%

pours a deep copper color with a dense off white head that fell in to a nice sheet.
the aroma is malty with a nice blanket of hops, little citrus, hint of pepper.
the flavor is spicy, hoppy, carmelized malt, citrus, resinous, lingering spicyness.
the mouthfeel is wounderful it explodes with flavor and has a good carbonation.
defently a beer for the colder seasons.

02-04-2006 23:42:59 | More by plaztikjezuz
Photo of Vancer


2.88/5  rDev -30.8%

Looks like this one is quite popular across the board – but didn’t do anything for me. Pour was very nice, a clear amber with fluffy ivory head – plenty of sticky laces all the way down the glass.

Strong floral hints did not bode well for the quaff, and yep, very hoppy brew, almost like an APA. No winter spices or enough malts to balance it out – but since this is an AIPA, suppose it meets the style.

Crisp and oily on the tongue, it will warm you up with the 6.8%

02-01-2006 14:11:44 | More by Vancer
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev -7.5%

Bottle: Poured a clear amber color beer with a nice foamy slightly off-white head with excellent retention. Aroma of citrusy hops is quiet evident as well as an evident caramel malt presence. Taste is a well balance mix between semi-sweet malt and citrusy and bitter hops. Body is fuller the average with a good level of carbonation. Overall, this is well balance IPA that I would love to have access to all year around.

01-30-2006 19:44:29 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of JayQue


4.85/5  rDev +16.6%

I was very surprised to find this on tap at the Marriott Newport RI hotel bar. I had asked if they had SNPA and they didn't. (What a great substitute!!) The bartender was a proud hop-head and is a lot more knowledgeable about beer than I am. A great chat as well as a surprise encounter with a familiar, top-notch beer. I didn't notice much difference between the draft and bottled versions. Bars are dark so my 56 year-old eyes didn't get to enjoy the apprearance as much as I do at home. The aroma, taste and mouthfeel are exactly the same as I encountered in my review of the bottled version. While I gave them the same numeric grades, I might hedge the comment I made about this being an outstanding session beer. A few of these and the "session" would definitely be effected!!!

01-28-2006 15:54:22 | More by JayQue
Photo of jlh8643


4.03/5  rDev -3.1%

Served in an imperial pint glass at 3F's BP. A large off white, thick head sits atop a bright amber body. Floral and grapefruit hops with some "cat piss" Columbus hops greet the nose along with some carmel malt. The body is medium with the citrus hops leading the malt. The finish is full and satisfying. A great beer to drink and not too much alcohol to have more than a couple in a single sitting.

01-28-2006 01:20:47 | More by jlh8643
Photo of tastybeer

North Carolina

4.21/5  rDev +1.2%

Giant head and giant lacing. Amber red and fairly clear. Tantalizingly inviting. Smells of grapefruit, faint pear and apricot hops over sweet malt background. Taste is all out grapefruit hops with mouth watering dry bitterness. Nice carbonation, bitterness, and good mouth. Always a drinkable beer for me.

A hop celebration.

01-26-2006 01:03:56 | More by tastybeer
Photo of heyitsbyron


4/5  rDev -3.8%

Poured a single from Woodman's in Madison ($1.25--hell yeah!) into a tulip glass.

Celebration Ale is without a doubt the prettiest beer I've ever poured. The color of the stream is a wonderful blonde and in the glass it's a glowy, rusty but clear Triaminic syrup orange. The bubbles play around in the glass before forming a pillowy pale orangish head. It does lace well if that concerns you. Absolutely magnificent.

Smelled floral and like grapefruits as well. Pretty standard for an IPA, but well balanced and how it "should" smell.

Taste followed smell for the most part. It is piney, floral and citrusy. I also thought I tasted peppermint, but that's probably just a mental projection of mine. No malts to speak of, though it did have a slighty foody aftertaste, which, like Great Lakes Christmas Ale, is a good for a winter seasonal. To be honest, I was expecting more of a winter warmer style, but this was very well done for an IPA.

The most notable feature of the mouthfeel is the carbonation--very smooth entering the mouth. Not too heavy, and perhaps it should have been for a winter seasonal.

It's a great IPA, I'll grant them that. And it's a fun beer to have around the end of the year, but for a "celebration" I feel it's a bit too much of an IPA to be enjoyed in quantity with the family around the fire at the holidays. I'd be more than willing to buy it again, but just not necessarily for its intended consumption setting.

01-24-2006 05:10:12 | More by heyitsbyron
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,773 ratings.